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The Federal Republic of Germany, Church Tax and the Hitler Concordat
By Peter Gorenflos
The case brought before the European Court of Human Rights by Dr. Peter Nittmann
Since the downfall of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, the Church in Germany has begun to fancy itself as a once important force of resistance against Adolf Hitler. Thanks to his reserve, Pope Pius XII allegedly saved the lives of thousands of Jews. That must have been a strange form of opposition, an opposition that would decorate its meeting halls with flags bearing the Swastika on Hitler’s birthdays. That’s what German Christians did with their churches then! They had to wait a while before changing history because the relationship between the Church and Hitler, between the cross and the Swastika, remained very much in the common consciousness after the defeat of fascism. According to Karlheinz Deschner, it was a straightforward case of collaboration. (Mit Gott und den Faschisten, Hans E. Günther Verlag, Stuttgart,1965, www.deschner.info ),
“You will know them by their fruits“, according to the Bible (Matthew Ch. 7, v. 16) and the fruits of the Church’s collaboration with Nazi Germany still abound today, even affecting us un-denominational people. The child, or rather the bastard child of this holy alliance, was the ‘Reichskonkordat’ (Reich’s Concordat), which astonishingly survived Hitler's defeat without so much as a scratch and whose scope was even extended by Adenauer’s Subsidiarity Legislation. This gave church organisations preference over public bodies when it came to the running of hospitals and nursery schools, meaning that non-denominational job seekers are turned away under the pretence of ‘Tendenzschutz’ (a law which allows certain organisations to pursue a particular, normally political bias and demand the same of their employees). This is tantamount to a professional ban for non-denominational doctors, nurses and kindergarten workers as soon as church organisations run the majority of hospitals and nursery schools. Under the same pretence, Christian employees can be sacked if their marriage should end in divorce.
This demonstrates how the church is interfering impertinently in our private lives! And so Adenauer reaped what Hitler had sown. Instead of sitting in the dock at the Nuremburg Trials where they belonged, the clergy organised the escape of high-ranking Nazi officials to South America, a route which became known as the ’rat line’ and which Mengele and Eichmann used to escape justice. We should never forget just how deep the Vatican’s involvement actually was with the concentration and extermination camp of Jasenovac in Yugoslavia, as described by the former Russell Tribunal Chairman Vladimir Dedijer and published by the Ahriman Publishing House (www.ahriman.com).
The outrageous effects of the Hitler Concordat can still be felt today. It lives on in the guise of article 123 paragraph 2 of the German constitution – Hitlers rotten egg!!! - and does nothing less than hide fascist bullying behind legislation, well disguised to the layman, to ensure that this impudent apology of Hitler does not become a matter for public debate – without the Enabling Act there would have been no Concordat between Hitler and the papacy. What was right then must still be right now. It brings to mind that appalling lawyer Filbinger, a former member of the NSDAP and later the CDU Minister President for Baden-Württemberg. This is the reason why the state collects church tax on behalf of the Church in Germany. This costs the state around one billion Euros of extra administrational costs every year and is a direct result of the Concordat. The military chaplaincy also costs the tax payer, regardless of his or her denomination or personal philosophy. And that’s not all. The tax payer has to dig deep into his pockets and pay for the salaries of religious education teachers, fund Christian faculties and their professors, hand over grants to religious orders, media and church congresses and even pay damages to the Church due to the secularisation 200 years ago. Every year, this lightens the Treasury’s coffers by some 20 billion Euros. (More details under: www.stop-kirchensubventionen.de ). This is an utter disgrace and the only case of its type in the world. And, to cap it all, only 8% is actually used by the Church to fund social causes, the rest is used up by its reactionary organisation.
Let’s not forget that in the 1920s the social question was being vehemently debated! This included how society's produce could best be distributed, the rights surrounding private ownership of the means of production and workers’ housing as well as questions to do with existing mass poverty and the possibility of greatest happiness for the greatest majority of people. This set the alarm bells ringing amongst the ruling class and they began to fear for their privileged way of life. And of course the young Soviet Union, which presented a cry of encouragement to the working class, also lay right on the doorstep.
The runaway train that was charging down the tracks towards liberty, equality and emancipation for all men had to be stopped, and then came Adolf Hitler! Without the massive financial support his party and propaganda machine received from heavy industry and financial institutions, he wouldn't have had a chance to seize power and would have remained a pathetic, isolated psychopath. The task for which he was paid was nothing less than the destruction of the labour movement and that was just fine as far as the Church was concerned. For the labour movement and the Weimar Republic’s KPD were historically grounded in the Enlightenment and moved by the principles of the French Revolution and there was no space for religion, obscurantism, anti-Semitism and Medieval beliefs. The Church and the ruling class shared a common enemy and placed their hopes in the same solution: Adolf Hitler. To the ruling class, Hitler’s anti-Semitism and his racial views were just quirks that one had to put up with until he had completed his 'work'. To the Church, his anti-Semitism was just a repackaging of its own traditions, after the interglacial of the Enlightenment which was going to come to an end. Whereas reactionary secular forces in Germany were providing Hitler with millions and millions of Reichsmarks, the Church supplied the loyalty of the masses through its organisation and gave him moral backing.
The Vatican, which could sense the rebirth of a new Middle Ages, was the first foreign body to officially recognise the Third Reich – this sent an important pro-Hitler message to other states, which were still shocked at the developments in Germany. The profane arm of German Catholicism, the Centre Party (Zentrumspartei), helped usher in the Enabling Act, because the reactionary Hitler-Pope Concordat would simply not have been possible by way of the normal democratic, parliamentary process. As a reward for this and other services, without which Hitler would have succeeded only with great difficulty, if at all for that matter, the Vatican received its Concordat on the 20th July 1933. Still in effect today, this bestowed a unique set of privileges on the Catholic Church and was brokered by Eugenio Pacelli, the Papal Nuncio in Berlin who later reigned as Pope Pius XII during World War II. Hitler lost the war from a military standpoint, but in some ways he did reach his goals: the destruction of the labour movement and not just in Germany.
But let’s get back to the present day, back to the consequences of the Hitler Concordat. As if things were not already bad enough for the unemployed, the true victims of capitalism, the Republic of Germany had the nerve to continue deducting church taxes from their already ridiculously low unemployment benefits until 2004, regardless of whether a benefits claimant was un-denominational or in fact belonged to another denomination all together. This is a direct consequence of the Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican. Even the poorest victims of this – yes, changeable!! – conditions are called upon to support this state sponsored obscurantism. Dr. Peter Nittmann campaigned against this practice representing many non-denominational unemployed people and his success resulted in the abolishment of such deductions from unemployment benefits by the end of 2004. The outrageous nature of this affair was all too apparent. At first, German courts tried to throw out the accusations by calling the scandalous church taxes 'fictitious'. However, money was not being deducted fictitiously from benefits, but in a very real way whilst the Church is still being propped up by 20 billion Euros of each tax payers’ money to which even the unemployed, un-denominational citizens had to contribute from their meagre income – evidence of the warped logic of the post-Hitler state.
But Dr. Peter Nittmann has also demanded that this unconstitutional church taxation be reimbursed. During this affair, case relevant files were destroyed by a judge from the Landessozialgericht (Superior State Social Court) in Stuttgart. This is recorded in the Ketzerbriefe (Heretical Letters) 129 and 135 published by the Ahriman Publishing House. The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe also dropped the case. The case against the Federal Republic of Germany has then been taken to the European Court for Human Rights, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex (case no. 36798/059). It is decisive that all upright and secular people show their support in this matter.
In Strasbourg, Judge Renate Jaeger recently rejected Dr. Nittmann’s case, too, without any argument. It is urgent that political pressure and publicity about this scandal now reactivate the case! Judge Renate Jaeger never protested against the state compensation provided the Church for the expropriations during secularization 200 years ago, although this property and land was originally extorted from the population by means of inquisition, torture, and murder. Judge Renate Jaeger approves of compensating the thief: let him run, give him the money “back”. But if non-Christian unemployed demand their unconstitutional Church taxation be reimbursed, she refuses to take up the case. What a strange sense of justice and equality this judge has! All unemployed people who have no religious denomination or who are not Christians should be refunded all of the unconstitutional Church tax payments they made! The chronological survey of the Nittmann case can be found in the latest edition of the heretical letters (nr. 153 in Ahriman Publishing house).
The reason given for per capita deductions of church tax is the so-called clear majority of tax paying Christians compared to the tax paying population when taken as a whole. According to the official definition, a ‘clear’ majority means an absurd if not ridiculous low 55 %. According to the research group FOWID (Forschungsgruppe Weltanschauungen in Deutschland), this figure had dropped to 54.2% in 2004 and it would continue to decrease well into the future. Even the non-denominational author of this article had to protest strongly to the Finance Office in Berlin, before he was refunded the church tax that had been levied on the travelling expenses of his non-denominational employees.
The Hitler Concordat, which is still part of the German constitution, is not only reactionary and: ugly (!!!), but also completely incompatible with the principle of Neutrality of the State (Article 3, para. 3, 4 para. 1, 33 para. 3) as stipulated in the constitution. The Concordat could easily be stripped from the books thanks to the 2/3 parliamentary majority of the coalition government and finally end up on the scrap heap of history. Merkel, responsible for the political guidelines in her country, should now decide what’s more important to her, the principle of neutrality or the Hitler Concordat. It’s time for her to show her true colours! It’s simply not possible to have both! But aside from all this, even in a formal way the church tax lost its legitimacy as the ominous ‘clear’ majority of 55% of tax paying Christians compared to the tax paying whole population is no longer existing. Religion must become a private affair again just as the constitution demands!!! The Church must be separated from the State and deprived of its status as a statutory corporation. It must be assigned a club status. Religion is a dangerous anachronism and goes against all forms of rationality.
The Hitler Concordat, which with each passing day costs us all millions of Euros, whether we are non-denominational, Jewish or followers of other denominations, must once again become part of the agenda. What an excellent source of funds it would make for beleaguered Germany, whose problems, to be honest are more political than economic! The most dangerous facet of the Hitler Concordat is its obscurity. You won’t find it in any school curriculum. Under the mantle of silence, the stench of world war and Auschwitz fouls the air.
from the May 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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